As most founders will tell you, building a tech platform from the ground up is no easy task. There are challenges coming at you on all sides; from making sure you’ve got the right people and processes in place, to the technology itself.
Experimenting is an essential tool in any startup’s toolkit, but the tech stack you choose can either help or hinder your chances of scaling rapidly and creating a product customers want to use.
When first starting out, it’s so easy to fall into the trap of choosing to use a technology just because it’s what everyone else is using; not because it’s the best fit for your project.
Don’t be tempted by ‘cool’ tech
For me, the nerd inside wanted to play with new languages or frameworks that I hadn’t used before.
But to build a great product, you need to innovate; and it’s much harder to do that when you’re having to reinvent the tools you use while trying to do so. Working with established or familiar technologies means you can experiment much more easily.
And as a company grows, there are varying needs which require different processes and technology. Over the years, we’ve moved from Trello to Jira and back again at least twice.
This isn’t because we couldn’t stick to one or the other, it’s just that we needed different things as we scaled. While we have experimented a lot, we do so with technologies we already know and have experience working with—which means the team doesn’t waste any time having to learn how to use a new one.
What product are you building?
The type of product you’re building will also majorly impact the tech you should use.
For example, on projects with a big emphasis on data science, analytics and machine learning, using Python will be a much better choice than another language.
Not only can it give you an edge when dealing with large datasets, but it’s also one of the global standards that the best developers use.
Using established tech stacks will help you access top talent and make sure that you have the best people on the team developing the product.
It’s also important to keep in mind how you want to develop the product moving forward—as the tech platforms you’re using will determine how you can roll out features.
If you’re looking to be iterative and release multiple deployments or product features in quick succession, then you need to be using technology that is robust enough to withstand that agility.
Team-based experience matters
And again, it has to be the tech that your team has experience working with—otherwise, you run the risk of spending more time on configuration and process than on deploying features that grow your business. While it’s always exciting using shiny new tech and processes, there has to be a genuine reason to do so.
A startup’s pace is uncomfortably fast, there’s always pressure to move quicker and be bigger than before—and as you grow that only gets harder.
From our experience, it’s much easier to scale quickly when working with established technology. To build a great product, you need to be prepared to experiment, but this is 10x easier to do when you’re not having to learn on the job.